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Vivyan Adair
Vivyan Adair

Adair Testifies at Senate Committee Hearing

By Eileen Foote
Posted September 29, 2010
Tags Faculty Vivyan Adair
Vivyan Adair, the Elihu Root Peace Fund Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee on Sept. 21. The full committee hearing, titled “Welfare Reform: A New Conversation on Women and Poverty,” examined the challenges faced by women in poverty and the effects of changes in welfare legislation.

In her testimony, Adair spoke about her own struggles as a young, single mother on welfare. Education ultimately allowed her access to a life for herself and her daughter without welfare assistance. Welfare reform’s mandate of “work first” in the mid-1990s made it more difficult, and in most cases impossible, for welfare recipients to get an education, she said.

Adair cited examples from her research and her experiences directing Hamilton’s ACCESS program. She highlighted many instances in which low-income women were trapped in low-wage jobs because they couldn’t obtain the training they required to be hired in more skilled positions that would offer financial independence. “To prevent women who can do so from completing post-secondary higher education degrees is a mark of a shortsighted and fiscally irresponsible policy,” she said.

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